“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.” (1 Jn. 4:9)
“He Who justly permitted punishment to come upon us, has now in His great goodness, compassion and mercy descended for our sake to us. And He became a human being like us in all things except sin so that by His likeness to us He might teach us anew and rescue us; and He gave us the saving counsel and commandment of repentance, saying: ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has drawn near’ (Matt. 3:2).
Prior to the Incarnation of the Logos of God the kingdom of heaven was as far from us as the sky is from the earth; but when the King of heaven came to dwell among us and chose to unite Himself with us, the kingdom of heaven drew near to us all. Since the Logos of God through His descent to us has brought the kingdom of heaven close to us, let us not distance ourselves from it by leading an unrepentant life. Let us rather flee the wretchedness of those who sit ‘in darkness and the shadow of death’ (Is. 9:2).
Let us acquire the fruits of repentance: a humble disposition, compunction and spiritual grief, a gentle and merciful heart that loves righteousness and pursues purity, peaceful, peace-making, patient in toil, glad to endure persecution, loss, outrage, slander and suffering for the sake of truth and righteousness.
For the kingdom of heaven or, rather, the King of heaven – ineffable in His generosity – is within us (cf Luke 17:21): and to Him we should cleave through acts of repentance and patient endurance, loving as much as we can Him who so dearly has loved us.”
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